MOSCOW, February 22 - RAPSI. The parliament's upper house approved on Wednesday a government bill enabling courts to sentence those convicted of drug trafficking and smuggling to life imprisonment.

The bill has considerably increased the punishment for making, storing and selling drugs and stipulates that the use of drugs will be an aggravating circumstance in any crime. Under current law, the maximum punishment for drug trafficking is 20 years in prison.

Money, valuables and other assets received from crimes involving drug trafficking will be subject to confiscation.

The bill will introduce a new system for categorizing these crimes. They will be divided into considerable, large-scale and very large-scale.

Drug smuggling will be regarded as a separate crime punishable by up to life in prison.